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he started no objections, and made no delays, but straightway “arose and came to his father.”

What are the causes of your delay ? Are you ashamed to repent? You have indeed good reason to be ashamed of your crimes, and of having so long persisted in them; but never blush for returning to virtue. It indicates more true greatness of soul to confess your faults, and return to your duty, than never to have transgressed. Are you afraid of the ridicule and contempt of your companions? Do you dread the malice and reproaches of an illjudging world ? Do you suppose that those sins which are blotted out of the book of God's remembrance are not forgotten by them? With these things, perhaps, you will meet in your return to duty. But what think

you

of the opinion of God, who is also the witness of your actions, and who will soon be the judge and rewarder of your conduct? What think you of the love and approbation of every good man? What think you of the desires of the just made perfect, who are eager to enrol you among

the number of the blessed? What think you of the applauses of angels and of archangels who are waiting to break out into new allelujahs of joy on your return?

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Do you think that the work of repentance is difficult, and cannot be accomplished without much pain and sorrow of heart? It is difficult. It will cost you much labour and many a pang. But will it become easier by being delayed? If you persist in iniquity; if you allow your passions to take root, and evil habits to gather strength, then, indeed, repentance will not only be difficult, but almost impossible. To forsake your sins, and return unto God will be as the cutting off of a right hand, or the plucking out of a right eye.The present, then, is the most proper time for repentance. It is less difficult now, than it will be at any future period. Now is the accepted time, and now is the day of salvation. The God of mercy and compassion is ready to receive you.

The Spirit helpeth your infirmities. Make haste, therefore, to draw near unto God.

You stand upon a precipice ; the carth moulders under your feet : fly, or you are lost for ever.

Lastly, to excite you farther to the practice of this duty, and to give weight to every thing which has been said, let me remind you, that, , God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained : wherein you must give an account of your conduct; and wherein those sins which you have committed, and of which

you

have not repented, will appear along with you before the tribunal of your God. You cannot live always : of this the experience of others, and the infirmities engendered by the latent principle of death within you, , give you sufficient warning. The world itself exists but for a season. The silent lapse of ages, and the gradual decay of nature, announce, in sad and solemn language, that awful period when the works of nature and of art shall all be dissolved. A few

ages
and

generations more having passed away, that day, at length, arrives for which all other days have revolved ; that great day when this earthly scene of things shall be finally closed : when the mighty plan of providence shall be unfolded: when the corrupt shall be separated from the worthy, and each shall receive the fruit of his labour. Then shall heaven open wide its everlasting doors : and behold the Judge cometh in clouds; every eye shall see him ; and you who, daily, pierce him by your sins and your ungodly lives, shall, sadly, mourn in dismay and anguish. He is, no longer, that

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weak and helpless mortal who wept at Bethel, and who suffered upon Calvary. The reed is now turned into a sceptre, and the crown of thorns into a crown of glory. He appears in the glory of his father : clothed with the splendour of divinity, and attended with the host of heaven. Before him who was once dragged as a criminal to the judgment seat of Pilate, the whole world is assembled. The great tribunal is erected : the books are opened : sentence is pronounced on every man. Down to the prison of everlasting darkness and despair, the wicked are driven, where, bound in chains, they suffer in the flames of that lake whose smoke ascendeth for ever and ever : while the righteous ascend with their Lord, to be put in possession of those happy mansions prepared for them before the foundation of the world.

I conclude in the words of St. Peter. Seeing then that all these things shall be diso solved, what manner of persons ought ye to “ be in all holy conversation and godliness.” Amen!

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SERMON IV.

On the uncertainty and awfulness of death ; pre

paration for it to be found only in the conscientious practice of christian duties.

i Thess. CHAP. 5, Ver. 2.

“ The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

RELIGION bears the same proportion to every human pursuit that eternity does to the short space of threescore and ten years.

The concerns of this life soon have an end : at death our connection with the world ceases for ever : when we descend into the tomb, the cares and schemes and business and pleasures and hopes of this life cannot follow us: there the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest : the ties and relations and dependencies of society are for ever dissolved : there the servant is free from his master, and the prisoner hears not the voice of the oppressor. But religion has no end ; it reaches

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